I have to say I enjoyed it.
There’s some grousing online about all the glitz, but it should be remembered what the target audience is here, people who aren’t necessarily science literate yet. You also have to remember that the original Cosmos had its share of glitz. It might not look like it by today’s standards, but I can assure you when my 13 year old self saw the original, the glitz was there.
I think it was a good idea for them to do the historical reenactments as cartoons. As an adult, I find the historical parts of the original Cosmos to be its most interesting parts, but as a young teenager in 1980, I found them deadly dull. The show back then was most in danger of losing me during those sequences. With all the competing sources of entertainment today, it’s critical that those sequences be as entertaining as possible, and I think making it animated helps tremendously.
I was impressed that the show highlighted Giordano Bruno in its first episode. It’s a gutsy move, and I’m sure it will be a controversial one. I’ve already noticed some grumbling about it from certain quarters. I got into an epic argument last year with a couple of people about Galileo, and I was surprised by how ferocious it became when I mentioned Bruno.
As Tyson admitted, Bruno was no scientist. His insights were mostly luck. Still, influenced by the philosophy of Lucretius and the Epicureans, he guessed right about the infinity of the universe and that stars were other suns, and his work probably influenced people like Galileo and Descartes, although they dared not admit to it at the time. I think the main goal of that sequence on the show was to highlight how harmful repressing ideas can be.
All in all, I think the show is exactly what it aims to be, an outreach of science to the general public. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
If you missed the episode last night, it will be on the National Geographic channel tonight.
- ‘Cosmos’ review: Neil deGrasse Tyson brings brilliant science, questionable history to the world (zap2it.com)
- TV Club: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey begins by going as big as science can (avclub.com)
- Obama Launches ‘Cosmos’: ‘The Next Great Discovery Could Be Yours’ (nbcnews.com)